Britney, Bitch

I love Britney Spears and I love her new single. And before everyone jumps on my dick with that ironic “yeah I totally love Britney too lulz”, you can all buzz right off. I unironically, unashamedly enjoy Britney and I think that Work Bitch is legitimately fantastic. I know it’s cool to sarcastically “enjoy” something and that your “enjoyment” is supposed to be some sort of bullshit meta commentary on the state of pop culture and marketing, and is, more importantly, designed to impress upon the people around you exactly how far you’re levitating above everyone else in terms of cool points. But you know what, sometimes you just like things. And I like this. A lot. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I present Britney Spears’, Work Bitch:

Britney had a rough couple of years there, throughout which I was very firmly located on the “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” train, although with less runny mascara.

Picture of the blogger several years ago.

Picture of the blogger circa 2007.

If you read a lot of gossip mags (I do), you’re probably used to seeing Brit in denim cut-offs with bad extensions, holding a McDonalds bag, captioned with some snide commentary about the fact that she no longer has a rock solid stomach. Leaving aside the fact that she had two children and is totally entitled to eat McDonalds and not have abs of steel, she is looking fine as hell. In fact, as you can see from my incredibly detailed scientific study below, there is literally no difference between Britney’s bare stomach in Oops I Did It Again and Britney’s bare stomach thirteen years and two children later in Work Bitch.

Exactly the same.

Exactly the same. Science.

Moving on from the fact that she hasn’t aged (or her stomach hasn’t anyway), the video itself has everything you’d want from a new, more adult Britney. There’s expensive cars, group choreography in a desert, multiple outfit changes, some light bondage, a couple of minor explosions and a shark tank. I’ve seen some complaints about the fact that her dancing isn’t up to scratch, but I did another highly scientific study and came up with some startling results:

Brit2

1999 – Hit Me Baby One More Time vs. 2013 – Work Bitch

You can see, in the 14 years between videos, the size of the heel Britney is required to dance in has increased 600% (note: may not actually be 600%). I think this can probably be blamed on the fact that Sketchers and track pants are no longer a fashion statement (how we all yearn for those days). Personally, I would be struggling to stand in those glittery Louboutins, let alone perform any sort of movement, so I think the fact that she manages to get through what minimal choreography there is, is impressive and deserves a round of applause.

As for the song itself, it’s the perfect “getting shit done” song. On the one hand, you have the kind of mindless Eurotrash dance beat that just invites doing things in double time. I have gotten my morning routine down to under 15 minutes thanks to this song. Which is a godsend, because I frequently stay up til 2am blogging and thus need all the sleep I can get. On the other hand, the lyrics are literally telling you to work. Admittedly, they’re telling you to work for relatively unattainable things. I’m never going to be able to afford a Maserati or Bulgari working in the arts (or in anything else I’m qualified to do… like working in retail), but having Brit whispering “work, work, work” in your ear makes doing trivial shit twice as fast seem like it will result in something marvellous.

Anyway, all I’m saying is, I like this song a bunch and the video has a shark tank so I was already going to love it. Don’t kill my vibe. Give in to Britney, bitch.

Shagging Everything

I love trash mags. They’re a goldmine of confliicting news, reliable sources and product placement disguised as helpful articles about hair removal. This story was going to be a comparison of the articles in two different trash mags, but while I was flipping through Famous I came across an interview with some creature named ‘Gaz’ from Geordie Shore. I’ve only ever watched Geordie Shore like twice so I’m only vaguely aware of Gaz and his posse of Newcastle housemates. From what I saw he just bangs a lot of people and works out in between.

I find it amazing that he’s made a career out of being “handsome” and shagging loads of people, partially because he looks like this:

gaz-geordie-shore-281x211

There’s a lot of photos of him shirtless floating around online and, yeah, he does work out. But look at that face. He looks like some shifty guy you meet at a shit house party, who wasn’t actually invited but is trying to offload some really dodgy looking drugs that you buy anyway cos you’re having a bad time, and when you huff them, they turn out to be crushed panadol and you realise you just got ripped off by a junkie. He’s THAT guy. No amount of working out is going to make up for that face. I’m sorry.

But it’s not just his face that irks me. He speaks too. Which is obviously more irksome. Famous asked some (admittedly very leading) questions, so I thought I would just pull the choice bits from Gaz’s life philosophy:

  • On why he likes Australia: “the girls are really, really hot”… he has a point. We’re pretty alright, although I have a sneaking suspicion I might not be Gaz’s type.
  • On why Australian girls are “really, really hot”: “It’s so nice to run your hand through a girl’s hair and not get your fingers caught up in extensions” or have “half their face on your pillow”… Apparently Gaz often feels cheated when he wakes up in the morning next to a girl with her makeup and hair out of order. Firstly, I don’t know where he’s finding these mythical, makeup free Australian women. Secondly, fuck off Gaz. Those women probably went out feeling beautiful and woke up next to you, hungover as shit, trying to remember why they thought it was a good idea to go home with someone who has a neon orange fake tan, and mentally evaluating how far it is to the nearest sexual health clinic. Mornings aren’t a walk in the park for anyone.
  • On group sex: “One time I had five hostesses from a club – they all waited outside the room and just came in one by one.” I just… I mean… one at a time? There was like a line? I just feel like there’s been a fundmental misunderstanding of how group sex can work out well for everyone. I need to find the last girl n particular and console her. Just grab her by the shoulders and be like “You deserve better sex!”
  • On pubic hair: “If you had a bush, I wouldn’t shag you.” OH NO! Not pubes! I’ve read few interviews about this sort of thing, and I’ve gotta say… I feel like pubes are a really good douchebag screener. Like, if some guy gets close to your vagina and is like “AHH HAIR!” and then refuses to touch you, then he’s obviously a giant fuckwit and not worthy of getting in and around your sexy bits.
  • On social media: “There’s no point banging in the dark. I’ve gotta get a Snapchat!” Case and point re: douchebags. If you are stopping the sex to tell someone else about the sex, then you are doing the sex wrong and you should get back to me when you know little more.

There you go. Now you don’t have to read the interview. I’m sorry this is such a crap blog. I’m going 9000 things at work, including trying to design an exhibition catalogue on Microsoft Publisher, which is the equivalent of trying recreate the Mona Lisa in Paint. I’ll be better later. I promise. Thanks for sticking around.

What the Hell is Wrong With You People?

Normally, I don’t bother paying attention to Miss America. I’m not American… actually, I don’t pay attention to the Australian incarnation either. I just don’t really have an interest in beauty pageants or their contestants. It’s cool if you do. It’s not really my bag. But, being a person with eyes, I couldn’t help but notice the controversy surrounding the crowning of Nina Davuluri as Miss America 2013. To which I say: JESUS FUCK!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? For those of you who may not have seen, Miss America looks like this:

i.0.miss-america-miss-new-york-nina-davuluri

Looking at her, she has all of the credentials of a beauty queen: Great face. Great smile. Great hair. Gravity defying bust. (How? HOW?) Studying medicine. Gives good diplomatic answers to inane questions about the role of the Miss America. That’s all you need right? According to a bunch of idiots on Twitter, no.

Since the story blew up most of the racist Twitter accouts have been deleted. Lucky for you guys, it’s the internet, so nothing ever really goes away. Here’s a few that I could actually drag up images for:

nina d nina d2 nina d3 tumblr_inline_mt7c7oxiT41qawfnh

On top of that, there were a bunch of posts about how she was obviously a Muslim terrorist and how Obama must be pleased. My favourite, just for its sheer stupidity, comes from this account which has since been deleted: @wnfraser “@ABC2020 nice slap in the face to the people of 9-11 how pathetic #missamerica“. To summarise, the bigots were angry because Miss American has brown skin. However, they couldn’t decide which country that meant she was from, so most of them just took a shot in the dark.

This whole thing made me mad. Really mad. So, before I explode into a cloud of rage and glitter, some dot points:

  1. Yes. You’re absolutely right. You do have to be American to win. Which is why an American, Nina Davuluri, from New York, won Miss America.
  2. “American” does not automatically imply “white”, you fucksticks.
  3. Nina Davuluri is of Indian descent. She is not Indonesian, Egyptian, Arab, or whatever else you took it upon yourself to assign to her using your limited understanding of geography and vague knowledge of places where people have different skin tones. Invest in an globe. I’m not going to take you any more seriously, but you should do it anyway.
  4. Even if Nina Davuluri was an Arab person, that would not some how make her magically responsible for 9/11, you shitbags. The leap of logic that it takes for you to get to the point where you’d be willing to blame a hypothetical Arab beauty queen for a large scale terrorist attack just boggles the mind. Like…how? How did you get there? What twist did your brain take that you would think that was OK?
  5. The hashtag “#wherethewhitewomenat” is the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. Did you look at the rest of the competition? It’s like 97% white women. The standard for American beauty (or any kind of beauty) should not automatically be “blonde haired, blue eyed, white girl”. The white women are literally all over the contest. And they were beaten fair and square by someone of Indian descent. Fucking deal with it.

I’m too tired and irritated to continue this post. Like, I really just feel like it shouldn’t even be an issue. She’s beautiful and she won a beauty pageant. It shouldn’t be that hard to comprehend. Fuck.

Pop Culture: Get…In Me?

This blog post is probably gonna be a little…ahem… Not Safe For Work. While I was musing over what to write about this week, my best friend sent me a text shouting about how I should write a blog about how vampires are “just giant sparkly dildos now.” She was watching The Vampire Diaries and, in her emotional distress, had forgotten that I had already done a blog on that (albeit with less use of the word ‘dildo’). But that got me thinking. The internet is a wonderful place.  And by “wonderful” I mean “horrifying and confusing most of the time”. Like most of you, I’ve seen a lot of stuff I wish I hadn’t. Rather than repressing those memories, I thought I’d dredge them up and share them with you all by finding my top 5 weird ways pop culture has made the jump into the bedroom.

  1. Alice in Wonderland vibrators exist. I just thought I would put that out there. I’m not entirely sure how I know that. But I do. There’s five to choose from: The White Wabbit (after the rabbit, obviously), the Pleasure Pillar (after the caterpillar), the Heavenly Heart (after the Queen), the Mystical Mushroom (no word on whether eating it makes you any bigger) and, perhaps most disturbingly, the Kinky Kat, which looks like this:
    Oh god...

    Oh god…

    Do I love Alice In Wonderland? Yes. Do I want Alice in Wonderland in or around my vagina? No. Definitely not. At least the website selling it seems to have some understanding that a smiling, vibrating cat is a little odd. The product description reads: “The Cheshire Cat Vibrator is small, at about 5 inches long, so you can easily hide it from anyone who might find you a little mad for using a cartoon cat as a sex toy.”  They’re also concerned about safety. One reviewer notes that “the ears are a little pointy so it’s probably not suitable for ass play.” Good to know. Safety first, kids. (No…seriously. Safety first. I mean it.)

  2. My dislike of the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon is well-documented. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that UK company, Lovehoney, had teamed up with author E.L James for a range of official 50 Shades of Grey sexy merch. (Pro tip: Non-existant. My excitement was non-existant.)
    It’s everything you need to get started with the kinky sex, including a whip, a crop, blindfolds… I think I see a buttplug in there? And I mean, good for you, wanting to explore kinks. It’s good. Consensual, loving, kinky sex  shouldn’t be demonised. But I do kind of pity you if you’re going to try basing your new sexual exploits off some really poorly written erotic fiction that may or may not use the phrase “love cave” at one point or another.
  3. Hello Kitty is literally everywhere – it’s covered every product imaginable. So, I guess bedroom fun was the next logical step?

    My favourite thing about these was that they were originally marketed as shoulder massagers, despite the fact that they are obviously a totally inappropriate design for massaging shoulders. I mean…looking at them, they’re a totally inappropriate design for anything you’d want to put between your legs as well, but I dunno. Either way, the company has stood by them as “shoulder massagers” and continues to manufacture them. They release them periodically and with a little internet magic and some hefty shipping costs you can now buy them outside Japan. Lucky you.
  4. A big part of me wanted to mentiioned the Twilight themed dildo, because it sparkles and is designed to be put in the fridge so you can get that authentic “vampire dong” cold. But then I found a line of completely unofficial Alien and Predator themed dildos and I couldn’t really go past it. This one is so thoroughly ridiculous I don’t even know where to start. It’s called the PredAlien.
    That monstrosity is 32cm long, and has a circumference of 24cm at its widest point. So it’s huge. But perhaps more importantly, someone has sat down and thought, not only about how the Predator and Alien’s penises would look, but how a cross between Predator and Alien’s penises would look. And then brought that to life. In case you’re interested, there’s also an Avatar themed one. Please take note that the website is called “Aliendildos.com” and I take no responsibility for what you see when you click that link. I warned you.
  5. Or maybe you just like to snuggle. By now we’re all familiar with the concept of the body pillow. If you aren’t you probably haven’t watched enough 30 Rock or at least, you haven’t seen the James Franco episode.

    Anyway, body pillows as merchandise aren’t that uncommon, but my favourite comes from the world of K-pop. G-Dragon,  leader of K-pop boy band juggernaut Big Bang, recently released some solo material and performed a series of stadium shows. Of course, there was merch available – everything from your usual t-shirts and jumpers, to fake nails and scented candles (no…seriously). There was also this terrifying body pillow:

    Terrifying.

    Terrifying.

    I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for the photoshoot that required him to make kissy faces at the air whilst putting his arm around a pretend girlfriend. But anyway. It’s creepy… but you could be forgiven for assuming that it was a reasonably inoffensive object. Some people are huggers. Whatever. But then this came  accross my Tumblr dashboard the other day:

    Sweet Jesus.  (Click for the original blog post)

    SOMEONE ADDED TINY LITTLE LEGS TO IT. TINY LITTLE LEGS WITH TINY LITTLE SHORT SHORTS. And that’s when you remember that some people are not just looking for a cuddle. I dunno… I just don’t feel like this is what they intended when they made the pillow.

Anyway. I think I had probably way too much fun writing that. Poking around websites that sell sex toys is both funny and educational. Did you know they sell a fitness ball (like those big ones you see at the gym) with a vibrator attached? The tag line is “get fit and get off with the Vibrating Sex Ball”. I like that they just went with the most obvious name… it is literally a ball that has a vibrating dildo attached, so they called it a Vibrating Sex Ball. Genius. Alright, I’m done.

I Hope Robin Thicke Catches Fire

You may have heard Robin Thicke’s hit of the moment, Blurred Lines. If not, here’s your chance. Take a look (it’s a bit NSFW):

https://popcultureboner.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s generated a lot of controversy, and not because Pharrell hasn’t aged a day since Drop It Like It’s Hot. It’s catchy as hell (I confess, I often find myself humming it), but you’ve got to admit it’s a bit off. It’s kind of the equivalent of that dude that follows you around the bar, telling you your hair looks nice while staring at your tits and waiting for you to leave your drink unattended so he can slip you something. I mean, the hook of the song is “I know you want it.” Fun, right? Cute, catchy and vaguely sexually threatening! Everything you want out of a summer hit!

Obviously, racy videos/ lyrical content are nothing new. Tragically, neither are videos/ lyrical content that makes you wonder if it’s safe to be a lone female attempting to go anywhere or do anything. But the thing that really gets me grinding my teeth is the way he’s handled the controversy and the numerous public statements he’s made about the song.

Most artists whether waves of controversy in one of three ways. The first is complete silence. This either makes your intentions seem mysterious and interesting or makes you look like a massive dickhead. It can go either way. The second route is to issue a half-arsed public apology, thrown together in a flurry of panic by a stressed-out PR team. They follow a pretty standard script: “I’m very sorry if I offended ‘X Group of People’. It wasn’t my intention. Some of my best friends are ‘X Group of People’ and I have had lengthy discussions with them about my behaviour etc. etc. Won’t happen again.” In extreme enough cases, offers are made to donate large sums of money to a charity affecting ‘X Group of People’, effectively buying back public affection. This method also makes the offending party look like a dickhead, but it’s probably more effective than radio silence. The third is a well considered and genuine statement in which remorse is expressed, there is no buck-passing and promises to correct behaviours are followed through with. This one is rare, but good. Keep these in your heart and remember them in times of hardship.

Robin Thicke has, of course, done none of these things. In fact, he’s been so cavalier about the whole thing in a recent interview with GQ Magazine he said the following.

We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, “We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this.” People say, “Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?” I’m like, “Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.” So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, “Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.” After the video got banned on YouTube, my wife tweeted, “Violence is ugly. Nudity is beautiful. And the ‘Blurred Lines’ video makes me wanna…” You know. And that’s the truth. Right now, with terrorism and poverty and Wall Street and Social Security having problems, nudity should not be the issue.

No. Really. Those are words that came out of Robin Thicke’s mouth and were published without irony or comment in GQ Magazine . WHAT A PLEASURE IT IS TO DEGRADE A WOMAN!? Like he’s eating a fucking sandwich or taking a nice stroll in the park!? “What did you do today, sir?” “Well, Jeeves, I took a nice turn about the grounds. Ate a sandwich. Degraded some women. Should’ve seen the look on their faces! HA! Such a pleasure.” I don’t know why he’s suddenly become a British aristocat with a butler named Jeeves, but you get the point, right?

Thicke seems to be under the impression that the reason that people are upset about the video is the nudity. He’s wrong. The nudity is just the reason the video was banned. Nudity in and of itself is not offensive. However, three fully clothed dudes standing around and doing a bunch of degrading things to women while a jaunty little tune that heavily implies that there’s no need for consent because they “know you want it” is really offensive. And there’s no getting round it now because Thicke has pretty much copped to it and spoken about how enjoyable it was to participate in such an endeavour. But it’s alright guys! He’s totally not a misogynist! He respects women! All he’s doing is balancing at that massive gender gap – you know… that gap where women routinely trample over and objectify men and have such behaviour endorsed by institutions, the media and popular culture? What a delight to turn such a system on its head! He has a wife and kids. He’s definitely not a misogynist.

If you weren’t picking up on the sarcasm in that last paragraph, you probably don’t belong on this blog. In simple, sarcasm-free words: three guys who have ‘always respected women’ suddenly deciding to ‘turn that on its head’ and ‘comment’ on that respect by showing the complete opposite, isn’t a witty comment. It just shows off something gross that’s been bubbling away under the surface that whole time. The artists’ true colours, if you will. Having a wife, doesn’t make you miraculously misogyny-free, any more than having a black friend makes you suddenly not racist. Newsflash: you can hang out with women and still do and say shitty things to them… have any of you ever been to a bar? That’s pretty much the whole deal.

On top of that, on the Today Show, Thicke also said the following:

Yeah, but I think that’s what great art does. It’s supposed to stir conversation, it’s supposed to make us talk about what’s important and what the relationship between men and women is, but if you listen to the lyrics it says ‘That man is not your maker’ — it’s actually a feminist movement within itself.

Ah yes. New-New-New Wave Feminism. In which degrading acts performed in thongs to catchy little sexual harrassment anthems are the ultimate form of liberation. Forgive me. I’ve obviously not done enough reading. I don’t know if Judith Butler mentioned that one. Sorry. More sarcasm (and a Judith Butler reference). I’ll try to stop. First of all, the line “that man is not your maker” is followed up by the line “just let me liberate you.” I’m assuming based on the video/lyrics, that Mr. Thicke would like to liberate me by putting his dick in me and that I don’t have much of a say in the matter. Secondly, you don’t get to speak for me! Say it with me: Robin! Thicke! Does! Not! Get! To! Speak! For! Me! The idea that Robin Thicke thinks he can tell that some poor girl has some unresolved naughty side that’s just waiting to be brought out by a good screw is a) revolting and b) ABSOLUTELY NOT HIS DECISION TO MAKE. He doesn’t get to pick and choose how women use or don’t use their sexuality. That’s their job!

i need to stop before I bust a blood vessel. Robin Thicke is revolting. I hope he catches fire, or at the very least stops talking.

Gaga Needs to Sit Down

I’m gonna preface this blog by saying that Lady Gaga is not really my cup of tea. She cuts and pastes elements from people that have been more innovative and creative than her to make a boring pastiche of average. And that’s just the most superficial of her problems. Anyway, here’s her new video. It’s pretty dull.

So, whilst attempting some sort of Grace Jones/Madonna crossover Gaga actually utters the words “Pop culture was in art, now art is pop culture in me” which is one of the more self-indulgent things I’ve heard recently. But this is just me taking pot shots. My real problem is with her leaked song, which is either titled Burqa or Aura, depending on who you ask. Here is what that sounds like:

Ignoring her attempts to make herself more interesting by trying to sound like a blend of David Bowie, Nico, Grace Jones and that weird hard house you find at raves that you’re not sure how you ended up at because you’ve been blacked out for the past 4 hours, my main problem with this is the phenomenal shitshow that passes for lyrical content. I’m not just talking about the chant of “Dance, Sex, Art, Pop” either, although I too can chant words through autotune as though they have great meaning. At the moment I’m leaning towards “Cry, Eat, Sleep, Repeat” for my next single. The choice lines that have irritated me are:

I’m not a wandering slave, I am a woman of choice
My veil is protection for the gorgeousness of my face
You watch, you fancy me cause there’s always one man to love
But in the bedroom the size of them’s more than enough

Do you wanna see me naked, lover?
Do you wanna peek underneath the cover?

and

Enigma popstar is fun, she wear burqa for fashion
It’s not a statement as much as just a move of passion
I may not walk on your street or shoot a gun on your soil
I hear you screaming, is it because of pleasure or toil?

It’s not the first time Gaga has dabbled with appropriating the burqa. In late, 2012 she wore not one but two incarnations of the burqa to a Philip Treacy show at London Fashion week, the worst of which was probably this hot pink sheer monstrosity (which has, conincidentally, been the image linked to the leaked track on many a music blog):

….No.

And with these new lyrics, she’s taken it to a fun new level. [Dudebro voice: But Alex, like...what's problem or whatever?] I’ll tell you what the problem is, friend. Take a seat and I’ll tell you in great detail…or maybe like a little bit of detail before I get bored and link you to an article written by someone more articulate than I. Anyway…

You may have noticed that in recent years (or not-so-recent, I guess, depending on your perspective) there has been a wave of anti-Islamic sentiment in the Western world. A culture of fear has been perpetuated, to the point that just kind of vaguely looking a bit brown is enough reason to be shot multliple times – see: the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who was shot 8 times by British anti-terror forces, ostensibly because he wasn’t white and happened to be near the site of a terrorist attack, and that’s just one example I can name off the top of my head. In a political climate where that kind of thing can happen and you will still get a significant chunk of the population going “Ah yes, but he looked like a threat and he was near the site of the bombing so I can see where the police are coming from”, perfectly normal, happy people exercising their religious freedom become walking targets.

In the case of Muslim women, the wearing of the burqa has come to be associated with total oppression. Which is obviously bullshit. I don’t feel like I should have to go into why that’s bullshit, so I’m just going to link you to this blog: Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things. It’s obviously not all about Muslim women, but you get the gist. Muslim women are not tragic, oppressed figures in dire need of assistance from an all-knowing white, Western saviour. They get shit done.

However, Lady Gaga (ever the innovator) has taken the other really gross path that people sometimes go down. The lyrics are disgusting fetishising, sexualised bullshit. She’s turned the burqa into a fashion object – she literally says it’s a fun, enigmatic fashion object – and then made it some sort of alluring, mysterious role-play with a lover who eventually gets to see what’s underneath. Projecting sexual imagery onto someone else’s religious attire is offensive and disrespectful. In a climate where religious dress and the wearing of the burqa is demonised, it becomes even more important to listen to Muslim women’s voices, hear their opinions and respect their agency. Instead Gaga has steam rolled over intersting, valid and insightful commentary from Muslim women in favour of making some flippant sexual remarks about peeking underneath covers.

Speaking of interesting and insightful commentary from Muslim women… I am not a Muslim woman. So, now comes the time when I suggest some further reading for you:

If I wear a burqa, nijab.. or hell even a fucking hijab, I’m a stupid, brown savage who has no capacity to think for herself. But when Gaga wears it, its revolutionary and fashionable. People love to scream equality and colorblindedness when such an event arises, but such a world is completely theoretical until we fix these the caricatured perceptions about Islam. The power dynamics here cannot be ignored. – From this post from Tumblr user maarnayeri

Or perhaps this article, which has a slightly different point of view. There’s a plethora of voices out there. It’s getting late. I’m getting lazy. I have expended all my energy being mad. Google it, folks. I’m going to bed.

I Am Sick

I find myself rather unwell today, which is tragically impeding my ability to post a blog because my head feels like it’s been stuffed full of cotton wool and I can’t open my eyes. I lieu of blog I offer you a dubstep remix of Lemograb’s “unacceptable!”

I am sorry.

Bad Behaviour

Hugh Jackman seems like a nice guy. He an all-singing, all-dancing, Wolverine-playing extravaganza of a human being – a proper cutie. So I guess  could understand the compulsion to bite his ass. Wait… no I couldn’t because that’s a weird thing to want to do to someone you’ve never met. But that is something that poor Hugh Jackman has had to deal with from his fan base. According to the article, while Jackman was playing Peter Allen in the Broadway production The Boy from Oz, he heard a voice from the back saying “Peter, I want to bite your bum.” After a little joking around the fan followed through with her desire and gave his pert backside an almighty chomp.

Mmmmhmmmm

Mmmmhmmmm

That’s a great butt – a really great butt – but there are some impulses you should keep to yourself. The desire to bite an attractive celebrity’s ass is one of them. There is a line between being a big fan of someone and being a big, creepy fan of someone. In light of this I have compiled a list of impulses that I have definitely had things that you should probably avoid doing (to anyone, ever…but especially not to famous people you’ve never met.)

  1. Kneeling down behind your favourite celebrity, gently placing your cheek on their ass and whispering “thank you for exisiting” whilst lovingly patting each pert globe.
  2. Sliding your hands around their waist and muttering, “Your jawline is so deep and well-structured. I just want to build a nest in it and hibernate for the winter. Would you let me do that? Please let me do that” in their ear.
  3. Getting several tattoos of varying quality depicting their face and the names of their movies or albums. Showing those tattoos to your favourie celebrity. Showing those tattoos to the media. Showing those tattoos to people, generally.

    Not weird at all. (Google "man with Miley Cyrus tattoos" for further info.)

    Not weird at all. (Google “man with Miley Cyrus tattoos” for further info.)

  4. On being introduced to your favourite celebrity, referring to them only by the name of your favourite character portrayed by them.
  5. Maintaining intense eye contact while graphically describing every single sexual fantasy you’ve ever had about them. Bonus creepy points if you only refer to them by their character’s name.
  6. Flinging yourself at their feet as they walk past…licking their shoes while you’re down there. Occasionally yelling “I’m not worthy!” before returning to licking their shoes.
  7. Screaming. Following them everywhere, screaming.  Just non-stop, incoherent screaming.
  8. Subtly cutting a lock of their gair every time you see them. (Increasing the chances of seeing them by following them everywhere.)
  9. Writing letters of devotion in blood. If female, writing letters of devotion in menstrual blood. (Actually, any bodily fluid is pretty bad.)

    This is a letter to a member of a Korean boy band called 2PM, written in menstrual blood and scattered with pubic hair for added intensity. Click through for more weirdness (and a translation).

     

  10. BITING YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY ON THE ASS.

I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating with a lot of these, but I’ve provided you with some hard and fast examples of some genuinely weird shit people have done, so what’s to say that next time someone is confronted with the embodiment of fame/general hottness they won’t bend over and gentle whisper sweet nothings at their ass. Stranger things have happened.

I suppose to balance this post out I should probably provide a list of good behavioUr to display around someone you’re a big fan of. Here we go:

  1. REMEMBER THAT YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY IS A HUMAN BEING AND IF YOU WOULDN’T FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING SOMETHING TO SOMEONE ON THE STREET, THEN YOU SHOULD PROBABLY NOT DO IT TO THE ATTRACTIVE FAMOUS PERSON.

That’s it. That’s the list.

Sick to Death of Macklemore

Can we just talk about how bored I am of Macklemore? (It is my blog. We can definitely talk about it.) Alternative titles to this blog were “Please Mackle less”, “Keep your Mackling to a minimum” and “If anything, try to Mackle as little as possible.” Don’t get  me wrong… there was like 15 seconds there where I was excited about Thrift Shop. And then I moved on. He’s been getting a lot of attention lately because he wrote a song called Same Love, which is about pretty much what is sounds like. People have been talking about him like he’s here to ‘save’ hip hop, because he talked about homophobia and being nice to people. And I mean… points for trying I guess, but there’s just something icky about it, like that feeling I get when men tell me how to be a better feminist. So, I thought rather than add my two cents to the whole “can Macklemore say thing, who can say thing, everyone stop saying thing” debate, I would just provide a list of queer rappers who I think are cooler than Macklemore and who make really interesting, varied and exciting music.

  1. Le1f – Far and away one of my faves, he also does a lot of producing for some of the other people on this list. His music is a bit of a genre mash a lot of the time and is just generally heaps of fun. Oh, and did I mention that he is a) a total babe and b} an amazing dancer. Check his track Wut.

    Brilliant, right? Other tracks to watch for are Soda, which has a glitchy house vibe and is pretty much as far-removed from Wut as you could possibly get. For further coolness, here is a wonderful interview in which he talks about music and his identity.
  2. Amplify Dot - So Amplify Dot, or A. Dot, has been chugging away doing her own (really cool) thing for a while now with some other cuties. They’ve done some really awesome stuff with Ms. Dynamite and pretty much stole my heart. Recently she got signed for an album deal with Virgin. This song is called Semantics and is pre-album deal. It’s cheeky and pretty fun.

    As for her new stuff, Get Down is my fave. For further watching, she absolutely kills it on this track with the UK Female Allstars.
  3. Mykki Blanco - When this came out my housemate approached me, laptop in hand, and said “I think I have found something you will enjoy.” He was absolutely right. Mykki started out as a poet and performance artist. This track, Wavvy, is great. Keep an ear out for my fave line: “What the fuck I gotta prove to a room full of dudes who ain’t listenin’ to my words cos they starin’ at my shoes?”

    Some of my other fave tracks include  Haze Boogie Life and Kingpinning.
  4. Roxxxan – You may recognise Roxxan from the UK Female Allstars mentioned earlier (if you don’t, I’m assuming it’s because you didn’t watch it, in which case, backtrack and watch it). This lady has the looks of a catwalk model, but transforms as soon as the music starts. Check out her track Too Fuckin’ Facety.

    I think the reason I love this so much is because it really emphasises the fact that she is from Birmingham and really proud of it. The language is so area specific it makes it really fun to listen to. Check Power and this very cool live performance for added badassery. I’m in love.

  5. Cakes da Killa – Be still my beating heart. Cakes da Killa is a major cutie with an excellent sense of style and some filthy lyrical content. His song Goodie Goodies is ridiculously fun. Check it out.

    Great earrings, great makeup, great song. Love all round.  I’m also a big fan of Whistle, but you should really just check out his album The Eulogy.

So yeah. Next time you feel overcome by a need to listen to Macklemore’s Same Love, have a listen to one of these songs instead. They’re much better and are made by living breathing queer people who are all talented and excellent.

On another note, my friend Wes got tired of posting his rants to my blog, and his attractive and talented girlfriend DeeDee got sick of seeing Wes’ rants on my site. (Not really… I just couldn’t think of a way to structure the next sentence. It’s late. Shuttup.) So they lanched a website called What Sound, which features music news and reviews from across the country. It’s awesome and you should go and check it out because they’ve worked really hard and it looksgreat. CLICK HERE. GO. NOW. COME ON. You can also keep up with them on Facebook.

How to Destroy Cities

Heads up, kids. This is going to be spoilery. I’ve been rather flippant with my money spending lately, which is why I have seen both Man of Steel and Pacific Rim at the cinema. Full disclosure: I LOVED PACIFIC RIM. IT WAS SO GOOD AND SO MUCH FUN. On the other hand, I hated Man of Steel. Now, aside from the fact that I saw them almost back-to-back, the films do have something in common that I’ve started to notice in a lot of big budget productions: monumental destruction. Both Man of Steel and Pacific Rim feature the annihilation of entire (heavily populated) cities that the audience is supposed to disregard in favour of… I dunno…plot or something.

GO SEE IT

GO SEE IT

Normally I’m not a fan of that kind of thing. Even in The Avengers (which I loved and saw multiple times), the fact that the final fight scene featured an entire city being flattened and probably a couple of thousand people being wiped out never sat well with me. It’s probably because there’s never any real consequence to these sort of scenes shown in the film. Star Trek: Into Darkness, for example featured a city being totally flattened by a giant spaceship, and then ten seconds spent mourning the death of the people on board. The Avengers featured a gratuitous 20 second montage of people laying wreaths on the wreckage of buildings.

So it is with Man of Steel. I didn’t like the movie for a lot of reasons… many of them based on the fact that we’re apparently supposed to ignore the entire history of Superman and his whole ethos because they wanted to make it less like Superman and more like Batman. (Christopher Nolan is producing…is Superman gritty enough yet? We’ve given him a beard. How ’bout now? We’ve made him choose a life of solitude and deep-sea fishing. IS IT GRITTY YET? IS THERE ANY WAY WE COULD ADD MORE GRIT?)

"Are you finding me gritty enough yet? I grew a beard. How 'bout if this fight takes place at night? Would that make it better? Why don't you like me as much as Batman?

“Are you finding me gritty enough yet? I grew a beard. How ’bout if this fight takes place at night? Would that make it better? Why don’t you like me as much as Batman?

But my main problem lay with the fact everything got flattened. EVERYTHING. First, it was Clark Kent’s home town. Rather than, oh I dunno…taking the fight to space (which he is perfectly capable of doing), he instead tells everyone on the streets of Smallville to “go inside, stay there” so that he can attempt to beat the ever-loving Christ out of a bunch of super-charged, super-angry alien beings. In the process he manages to destroy the entire main street and eventually blow up a gas station, ensuring that anything that didn’t get punched to death caught fire.

Then, since wiping out Smallville isn’t enough to stop General Zod (our villain…I probably should have mentioned that earlier), he continues on with his genius plan to terraform earth so that it becomes a reborn Krypton. The fake science involves plugging two really big things in either side of the earth, getting them to make a dramatic “wump wump wump” noise, something-something-magents and hey-presto! Basically it picks everything up and then drops it, so that that it flattens down and eventually transforms the atmosphere. Superman does pratically nothing to stop this for a really long time. It just kind of happens and the people of Metropolis watch their city crumble before getting pounded into dust themselves.

The only time we’re given any insight into the human impact of the destruction is when we briefly look 3 staff members from the Daily Planet who we don’t really give a fuck about who calmly sit down and wait for death. (Lawrence Fishburne is one of the people, so I think we’re supposed to care, but I couldn’t muster it.) Superman eventually manages to stop the ‘wump wump wump’ machine from doing the thing, but that doesn’t actually stop Zod either. So, amongst the ruins of Metropolis they proceed to have another punching contest to destroy the rest of the city (just in case anything escaped unscathed). Eventually, Superman kills Zod (spoilers) to save four people. No word on why those four people are more important than the tens of thousands of people who were wiped out while the Soops and co. were dicking around elsewhere, but whatever.

And then the movie ends with exactly no acknowledgment of the fact that everyone is dead. It’s not just the fact that Metropolis (clearly a parallel for NYC) is flattened either. As I mentioned before, we’re explicitly shown the machine plugging into either side of the globe… Then it’s never mentioned again. I realise that it’s an America-centric movie, but why even show the fact that Zod’s quest for world domination has global implications if you’re not going to follow through with any of it?

In short, the reason this kind of mass destruction doesn’t work for me, is because we’re only supposed to care about the destruction of the city insofar as it has an impact on the main characters. Superman simultaneously destroys the world and saves it, no one calls him out on the death toll and Metropolis is mysteriously in tact. There are literally no repercussions for Superman making some seriously stupid decisions and thus the audience is supposed to assume that the city was eventually fine and/or that it wasn’t important anway. Considering how directly a lot of these films reference 9/11 imagery in their city-destroying sequences, there’s something inherently disturbing about pushing that sort of chaos to the side in favour of snappy one-liners about drone planes. (Spoiler: they’re not good snappy-oneliners.)

Pacific Rim features similar large scale destruction. It has to – it’s a Godzilla movie. However, Pacific Rim deals with its crumbling cities in a very different way. Unlike your usual disaster film, the action in Pacific Rim takes place in a world that’s become accustomed to being laid low by monsters. Kaiju are coming through a interdimensional portal…and they just keep coming, squishing cities and battling Jaeger robots. An effort is made by humanity to battle to monsters at the source. Several of the fights take place in the middle of the ocean, which is pretty spectacular. As we’re slowly introduced to more of the Jaeger program, it becomes apparent that the main purpose of the program is border patrol – to keep the kaiju away from heavily populated areas and generally just minimise the death toll.

When the city finally becomes the battle ground it’s Hong Kong being destroyed, which is just such a nice step away from a US-centric cinematic vision that it made my soul weirdly happy despite the fact that the Hong Kongwas being flattened in the process. Anyway, as the kaiju hits the coastline an alarm sounds, much like the sort of alarm that rang during air raids in WWII and everyone just very calmly heads underground. Because that’s what this world is. Humans have just kind of adapted to the idea that their home could be wiped out at any minute. They’re not happy about it, but they’ve learned to live with it. At one point a news report flashes up talking about Australians in Sydney rioting over the fact that the Jaeger program was discontinued just days before another kaiju attack. Black markets have sprung up around the sale of kaiju organs. Jaeger pilots are elevated to the status of rockstars and made into collector cards. It’s all just so human. They just kind of get on with life because what else are they going to do?

All throughout the film, it has been subtly implied that people are just soldiering on despite the dramatic heroics happening elsewhere. There’s something really wonderful about that and, more importantly, it means that seeing an entire city being wiped out doesn’t feel meaningless. It feels like, despite the destruction there is potential. And that’s kind of fantastic.

What I’m trying to say is that somewhere, somehow the roles of Man of Steel and Pacific Rim got reverse. Man of Steel is a superhero flick that shows a blatant disregard for human life and wantonly destroys entire cities because it has the budget to do so. To quote a friend of mine, Superman has basically become a pub brawler with super powers. It’s a superhero film that lacks a hero (and a sense of humor). Pacific Rim is a cross between a Western disaster movie and an Eastern monster movie that actually cares about the things it’s wrecking and takes pains to ensure that the audience isn’t going to be distracted from the actual plot by the carnage.

Obviously, this is just a review of the way the these two films treat the scenery. I have a lot of feelings about the characters in Pacific Rim (MAKO MORI! PLEASE MARRY ME!) and also about Idris Elba’s butt in tight pants. In terms of Man of Steel, I have a lot of feelings about Lois Lane (who was pretty great). But they’re stories for another day. Feel free to ask me about my feelings in the comments. I’d love to hear yours.

On another note, I’ve decided to stick to blogging once a week. The blog will now be updated on Fridays only. I figured “quality” over quantity, right? Right? Guys?

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